The transformation of iconic images of traumatic historical events into everyday humorous practice illuminates the mechanisms of remembering and forgetting that operate in digital popular culture. The image-icon has the power to evoke history, to function in Walter Benjamin's terms as a monad. This power, however, is fleeting as history is yet again rendered latent and forgotten once it is transformed into a gesture or everyday common sense. In this article, Stefka Hristova offers a comparative analysis of two Internet-driven participatory memes — “Pepper Spray Cop” and “Doing a Lynndie” — to illuminate the role digital media plays in the remembering and forgetting of what W. J. T. Mitchell calls the “histor[ies] of perception” of the November 18, 2011, pepper spaying of peaceful protesters at the University of California, Davis, and of the 2004 abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison.
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Stefka Hristova; Occupy Wall Street Meets Occupy Iraq: On Remembering and Forgetting in a Digital Age. Radical History Review 1 October 2013; 2013 (117): 83–97. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2210473
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